Saturday, July 11, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: Shameless Performance

"Street performer Delilah Shameless is frozen in time" by Thomas Farragher Globe Staff   July 10, 2015

Brooke Morgan is one of our city’s street performers, like those who made news earlier this year when they rose in successful protest against a plan proposed by the firm that manages Faneuil Hall Marketplace to charge a yearly fee of up to $2,500.

“The highest occurrence of sexual harassment and assault happened at Faneuil Hall,’’ she said. “I have been touched inappropriately and I count that as sexual assault. I don’t like to be touched.’’

Maybe she should see a shrink.

In case you hadn’t guessed, this is no shrinking violet. She’s a 24-year-old Texan who came to Boston to study art history at Boston University and fell in love with the place. She worked at an Italian restaurant during the summer before her senior year at BU, unable to scrape together enough to live.

So, leaning on her lifelong love of theater, she created what would become a series of striking street characters — the porcelain doll, the windup ballerina, the garden party lady, and Oz’s Dorothy — and then picked out a couple of favorite performance spots and went to work. She’s seen around Downtown Crossing as well as the Public Garden.

“I do well enough,’’ she said, placing her single-day earnings record at $970. “I do well enough to keep doing it. I make more than minimum wage. I can say that.’’ 

I hope taxes are being paid.

I met Morgan at an outdoor cafe before one of her recent performances. She is smart, direct, and introspective. She makes it clear that, for her, this may be whimsical art. But it’s art nonetheless.

Why Delilah Shameless? “I kind of liked the idea of a woman who takes power from a man,’’ she said, referring to the Biblical Delilah who felled the strongman Samson. “And it’s not because this woman has no shame. She won’t do anything she’s ashamed of.’’

I'm not leaving any money then.

She smiled and checked her makeup one last time....

(Blog editor smiles sardonically)


RelatedFinal Performance From Faneuil Hall

This is the encore:

"Merchants, tour guides express concern on Faneuil Hall makeover" by Taryn Luna Globe Correspondent  July 08, 2015

Longtime merchants, tour guides, and others peppered the operator of Faneuil Hall Marketplace with questions about a plan to make over the property at a public meeting on Tuesday.

City officials had arranged the meeting in an effort to defuse tensions between the landlord and merchants who have resisted the planned changes.

Some who attended expressed concerns about the future of several merchants at the historic site and about a lack of public input in the project, among other issues.

“I don’t think the developer and the architect understand the DNA of Boston,” said Marilee Meyer, an architectural historian from Cambridge. “How can the public affect this project, or is it so far down the road that developers from out of town dictate what happens to Boston culture?”

The marketplace is owned by the City of Boston, which leases North Market, South Market, and Quincy Market to Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., a New York real estate company. The city receives a quarter of the rent paid by tenants.

Oh, so the city has a $elf-$erving intere$t here.

Ashkenazy last year unveiled the controversial proposal to overhaul the iconic but dated Boston landmark. The company intends to replace the food court in Quincy Market with a more modern assortment of restaurants, bars, and quick-service eateries.

It also plans to add a boutique hotel in the South Market.

Who could be against such things?

Some of the current merchants say Ashkenazy has not been forthcoming about details of the renovation and are concerned that the company intends to replace their businesses with national chains.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority has intervened in recent months, holding private meetings with Ashkenazy and the merchants in an attempt to bridge the gap.

It asked Ashkenazy to present its master plan in detail at the meeting Tuesday evening to clear the air.

“We obviously noticed the relationship wasn’t what it really should be,” said Nick Martin, a BRA spokesman. “We’re trying to mediate a discussion.”

They are acting as a public relations firm for Ashkenazy.

Vincent Frattura, the owner of North End Bakery, said many of the merchants would become cheerleaders of the plan if Ashkenazy offered them long-term leases to ensure their place in the reimagined market.

“There’s people out here shaking in their boots because they don’t know if they’ll have a job tomorrow,” Frattura said during the meeting. “No one can look us in the eye and promise us anything.”

Several tour guides said they worried a new mix of restaurants would be too pricey for tourists, forcing the guide companies to take their groups elsewhere.

Look, this world is meant to service the elite cla$$. Any more que$tions?

Earlier in the evening, Ashkenazy officials sought to reassure tenants the company wanted to work with them to develop new spaces that show off more of the architecture of the building, instead of the standard food stalls that now line the walls.

The company said it is also working with 13 tenants to offer one-year leases. The tenants were previously operating on a month-to-month basis.

“The strength of the market is that it’s local Boston merchants,” said Barry Lustig, executive vice president at Ashkenazy. “Those merchants who are there today will be there tomorrow.”

Lustig said the BRA-mediated conversations have improved the tenor of talks with the merchants in recent months. Carol Troxell, president of the Faneuil Hall Merchants Association, agreed.

“We’re making strong headway with these leases,” Troxell said. “Over the last month we’ve resumed conversations with Ashkenazy, and that’s a big step.”

Ashkenazy had presented only pieces of the plan at public meetings before the Boston Landmarks Commission, which must approve changes that affect the historical nature of the property. Last month, the commission denied plans for two new glass structures and delayed demolition of a greenhouse near the front of the property.

The BRA will weigh in on the project after Ashkenazy presents the master plan to the agency’s board on July 16.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh has not taken a public stance on the conflict between the marketplace operator and the merchants. A spokeswoman said the mayor is committed to preserving the character and historic nature of Faneuil Hall, while creating an area that appeals to residents and visitors.

They own it in your name, but they won't challenge corporate power.


Also see:

Construction begins in effort to remake portions of Freedom Trail

Portuguese tall ship arrives in Boston 

If you were looking to go somewhere else in Bo$ton this weekend. I know where I would avoid.


"When the French military officer Marquis de Lafayette landed in Boston more than 200 years ago — bearing news that changed the course of the American Revolution — Bostonians greeted him with the roar of guns, the ringing of the city’s bells, and the music of a band. A replica of his ship, the Hermione, sailed into similar jubilation Saturday morning, as hundreds packed into a sunny Boston Harbor, wearing colonial garb and straw hats, listening to the sound of bagpipes, and waving French and American flags." 

I feel offended.

UPDATE: BRA backs overhaul for Faneuil Hall

You expected something else?